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NI out in front

Kicking off with a good news story once again, as we hear the housing market in Northern Ireland remained “buoyant” in August compared to other parts of the UK.

That's according to a survey by well-known industry body the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. 

Summing up their findings, the RICS state this "follows the trend" in the wider economy, with key indicators reporting that local business activity grew strongly at the end of the summer too.

The country recorded the strongest growth across the UK for house prices, with respondents also more upbeat on the outlook, the surveyors' association said.

They go on to say anecdotal evidence points to a "divergence" between the upper and lower ends of the market, with a stronger picture below the £250,000 mark.

Samuel Dickey of RICS concludes: "Overall, the latest survey paints a positive picture in terms of the trajectory of activity and the outlook.

“As ever, though, there are markets within markets.

“Different parts of Northern Ireland are more buoyant than others and there are variations between different property types and levels of the market.

“The latest NI Residential Property Price Index highlights this, with new build homes rising significantly faster than that of existing or resold housing stock, and average prices in rural areas up 6.3% in the past year, compared to 3.7% for urban areas."


Continued first-time-buyer optimism

First time buyer growth is up 15% in Northern Ireland in comparison to 8% in London. So, given that the NI market is more affordable and with the average loan being £110,000, this means a lower deposit is required than what would be needed in London.


Property lending up across Northern Ireland

House purchasing lending is at its second highest since 2007 which is supported by the current attractive rates that cash back offers from local lenders such as Danske.


Changes facing BTL portfolio landlords

Following a review of the buy-to-let market, the Bank of England last year announced a tightening of underwriting rules for landlords with four or more properties.

Essentially, the new rules require that a landlord's entire portfolio be taken into account when making lending decisions. 

At time of writing, the new rules kick in tomorrow (30 September 2017), so all good lenders should be pretty clear by now on how they plan to operate within the new standards.

However, it can take some time for any new regulation to 'bed in' with brokers and lenders, and with more evidence required, portfolio buy-to-let investors should maybe be prepared for mortgage decisions to take a little longer than usual.